Dolly Parton is giving free books to children in Scotland, in case you need a reason to smile today

Dolly Parton

Children across Scotland have received more than 25,000 free books thanks to country music legend and all-round angel Dolly Parton.

The country music superstar and humanitarian icon has added another notch to her ever-growing list of generous acts, after her Imagination Library scheme teamed up with the Wheatley Foundation in a move to to help children develop their reading skills.

The foundation, which is part of Scottish housing organisation The Wheatley Group, is dedicated to helping “thousands of people every year within communities across central and southern Scotland,” and was set up in 2016 with “the aim of supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people”.

Dolly Parton, wearing a black leather outfit, performs on stage with a black electric guitar during the 37th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Dolly Parton performs on stage during the 37th annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony. (Getty)

Today on National Reading Day (23 January), the Wheatley Foundation announced that a total of 1,293 young children have signed up to the scheme, with 25,206 books delivered since 2018.

The books are available to tenants of Wheatley Homes in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dumfries and Galloway.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Paddy Gray, the chairman of the Wheatley Foundation, said: “The Imagination Library is a great way of introducing toddlers to the joys of reading.

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“As well as increasing opportunities for children in later life, it encourages regular family time.

“On National Reading Day, we are proud to be able to announce that we have already distributed 25,000 books to children across Wheatley communities.”

Dolly Parton recently welcomed 2023 with an iconic performance alongside goddaughter Miley Cyrus (Vijat Mohindra/ NBC)

Imagination Library was set up by Dolly Parton in 1995, and allows children to be sent books free of charge every month until their fifth birthday. More than two million children have registered with the project.

It is the flagship programme of her wider philanthropic organisation, The Dollywood Foundation, which has gifted over 200 million free books in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Ireland.

Dolly’s philanthropic work has become one of the defining features of her celebrity over the years. Recently, she has provided cash incentives to prevent children in her local area dropping out of school, set up a reading programme to improve literacy rates and was particularly vocal in protests following George Floyd’s death.

She also donated $1million (more than £810,000) to help Moderna fund their research for a COVID-19 vaccine.

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